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  • Writer's pictureAislinn Shivakumar

You Remind Me Of...

Happy International Women’s Day!

The Soneva Company is filled with amazing women who make this place the gem it is. Last week, Alice spoke to the women of Soneva Jani to find out what books inspired them. This week, I’m will introduce you to three women on Soneva Fushi and tell you the books that spring to mind when I think of them.

First, we’re going over to the Glass Studio. The only glass studio found in the Maldives, run by three amazing women and one fabulous man. Erin, Linda, Nai and Martin. I want to introduce you to Linda as she is one of my best friends on this island. A hard-working, super talented young woman who works tirelessly in the studio by that furnace (I don’t know how she does it) introducing guests to the world of glasswork. While I don’t think she gets time to really work on her own projects – because they’re always running around creating amazing works of art for commission – I have seen her final products (commission and non-commission) and they’re amazing.

The book that springs to mind when I think of her is:

The Glassmaker's Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr, Jane E. Ray (Illustrations)

A beautifully illustrated piece about the joy glass work can bring to those around us.

Daniela the glassmaker's daughter is grumpy and never smiles. Her father promises a beautiful glass palace to anyone who can make her laugh. People come from far and wide to try their luck in amusing Daniela. But mask makers, lion tamers and magicians cannot raise a smile from the princess. It is only when a young apprentice makes the first looking glass that Daniela learns to smile – at her own grumpy reflection! This beautiful fable set in sixteenth-century Venice features stunning illustrations from award-winning artist Jane Ray alongside a poetic text.

Next is Nila!

Another of my best friends on the island, Nila is our Plastic Hunter! Ok, she’s actually our community engagement manager, but I think of her as her self-given title of Plastic Hunter. She is the driving force behind getting single-use plastic out of Soneva and the local atoll – and eventually the Maldives entirely. The rest of the world? Well, give her time, she’s working on it. She’s loud and tenacious and comes with an endless amount of energy – which is useful when you’re trying to change the world. She’s also extremely innovative and is always coming up with a new way to help the world. Given the right freedom and tools, she’ll change things in no time!

Her book is:

How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time by Will McCallum

I mean, what else could I choose? It screams what she wants to see changed in this world. And be careful if she sees you walking by with some single-use plastic on her island – those water bottles are so commonplace in our daily lives, and yet destroy our wildlife, are not welcome here!

Around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean every year, killing over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Plastic pollution is the environmental scourge of our age, but how can YOU make a difference? This accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, will help you make the small changes that make a big difference, from buying a reusable coffee cup to running a clean-up at your local park or beach. Tips on giving up plastic include: · Washing your clothes within a wash bag to catch plastic microfibers (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean) · Replacing your regular shampoo with bar shampoo · How to lobby your supermarket to remove unnecessary packaging · How to throw a plastic-free birthday party · How to convince others to join you in giving up plastic Plastic is not going away without a fight. We need a movement made up of billions of individual acts, bringing people together from all backgrounds and all cultures, the ripples of which will be felt from the smallest village to the tallest skyscrapers. This is a call to arms - to join forces across the world and to end our dependence on plastic. #BreakFreeFromPlastic

Our third and final amazing lady on the island is Hannah.

She is our Marine Biologist and one of the first people I met when I arrived on the island. She’s a gold mine of knowledge on all things ocean-based and an absolute sweetheart. Leading everything from snorkel sessions to talks about turtles, she is absolutely one of the leading ladies on Soneva – easily bringing in some of the highest rates of revenue in Experiences and it’s well deserved as a great teacher and lovely person.

The book that comes to mind for her is easy.

Blowfish's Oceanopedia: 295 Extraordinary Things You Didn't Know About the Sea by Blowfish

Like Hannah, this book is stuffed with tidbits of knowledge about all things sea. Written in a fun, light way, it’s the perfect book to dip in and out of, whether you want to take a short snorkel or a deep dive.

The seas of our planet cover more than seventy per cent of the Earth, but still remain shrouded in mystery. We know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about the lifeforms that have existed in the Earth's oceans since long before humans became explorers of the deep.

One such explorer is Blowfish, a marine biologist and star presenter of BBC Earth and ITV's Fishing Impossible. In this entertaining and enlightening new book, he lifts the lid on a treasure chest of fascinating facts to reveal what lurks beneath the waves. From the invisible world of meiofauna living in the sands of our beaches to a cephalopod called the 'Vampire Squid from Hell' stalking the lightless depths, Blowfish takes us on an astonishing journey as he follows the tides and currents from the shoreline to the bone-crushing pressure of the deep sea.

For the simply curious and the budding scientist alike, Blowfish's Oceanopaedia is a one-stop guide to all we know about our oceans and the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit them.

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